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Chubbie Cubbie's Experiments with Color

Activity name:
Color Cubes

Materials needed:
Red, yellow, and blue food coloring
Hot water
Cold water
Clear plastic cups
Ice cube trays

Use food coloring and water to make red, yellow, and blue ice cubes.

Carrying out the activity:
Fill clear plastic cups about halfway with hot water.  Be sure the water is hot but not too hot that it would burn a child if it were to spill on them.

Have the start by children putting two ice cubes (two different colors) into a cup of hot water.  As the cubes melt they will form a new color. 
red + blue = purple
red + yellow = orange
yellow + blue = green

Can they predict what color the two cubes will make?  What happens if they add another color cube?
orange + green = brown
purple + red = magenta
green + yellow = chartreuse
blue + green = aquamarine

Activity name:
Tissue Rainbow Paper

Materials needed:
Red, yellow, and blue tissue (a kind that will bleed)
White construction paper

Cut the tissue paper into 2" to 3" pieces.

Carrying out the activity:
Run the construction paper under water just enough to wet it.  Place the tissue squares onto the wet paper.  Be sure to over lap some of them.  If they paper starts to dry while you are applying the tissue paper, just spritz it with some water.

When the paper is dry, remove the tissue.  You'll have a beautifully colored piece of paper.   This can be a wonderful art project on its own or you can use it as a background for other projects.

Activity name:
Rainbow Paper

Materials needed:
Food Color (Red, Blue, & Yellow)
Cardboard Box Lids
Plain Newsprint Paper (Cut to fit inside of box lids)
Water (In a spray bottle)
Small cups or bowls
Eye Droppers or Pipettes
Kid-sized Plastic Gloves (Optional)
Baking Soda (Optional)

Dilute a few drops of food coloring small a small amount of water in a cup or bowl (Mixture should have a strong tint.). Place several droppers or pipettes in each container. Have each child put on a smock and gloves (gloves optional). Place newsprint inside box lid.

Carrying out the activity:
Have children lightly spray the paper with plain water just enough to dampen it. Allow the children to squeeze small amounts of the colored water onto their paper using the droppers or pipettes. Have the children observe how the colors bleed together and form new colors. If they apply too much colored water to one area, encourage them to tilt their box lid slightly to watch the colors "run" together. When their papers are covered with color and the children are satisfied with the way their paper looks, place the box lids on a counter to allow their papers to dry.

When the papers are dry, have the children remove them from the box. The children can cut their papers into different shapes, tear the paper into smaller pieces and glue them onto construction paper for torn-paper collages, they can draw on their papers with crayons or markers, or use their paper for wrapping paper or making decorative boxes. The possibilities are only limited to the children's imaginations.

If gloves were not worn and the children's hands are stained from the food coloring, have them first wash with soap and water, and then, while their hands are still damp, have them rub their hands with some baking soda and then wash with soap and water again. The baking soda will take off most, if not all, of the stain.

Activity name:
Make me a Rainbow

Materials needed:
Pan or shallow bowl half filled with water
Window on a sunny day or bright lamp


Carrying out the activity:
Place a mirror in a pan or bowl of water, and place it in front of the window or in front of a bright lamp. Tilt and angle the mirror so the sun's rays hit the mirror and reflect a rainbow onto the wall or ceiling. Best when done in a white room.

Activity name:
Color Crystals

Materials needed:
Epsom Salts*
Food coloring (no yellow or orange)
Glass baby food jars w/out lids
Plastic disposable spoon


Carrying out the activity:
Mix 1 TBL of water with ╝ tsp of food coloring in each glass or jar. Add 1 TBL of Epsom Salts to each jar and stir lightly. Do not cover. Crystals will appear over several days time. Keep a magnifying glass handy for this activity.

*Please note - Epsom Salts can be toxic to children if ingested. Perform this experiment with close supervision.

Activity name:
Color Me a Carnation

Materials needed:
White carnations
Several vases or tall glasses
Food coloring

Fill vase or glass 3/4 full with water. Add enough food color to make a reasonably dark tint. Cut bottom of carnation stem at an angle.

Carrying out the activity:
Have the children place a white carnation in colored water. Place in a safe place. Over a few days time, the flower will change colors.

Activity Expansion - Cut the carnation stem (vertically) half way up the flower. Cut each section at an angle (as above). Place each side of the stem into two different colors of water. The flower turns two colors.

Activity Variation - Try using a stalk of celery with the leaves attached. Make sure there is a substantial amount of food coloring in the water.

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